Carved in Stone: Prehistoric Representative Art


In eHRAF Archaeology, you will find a collection of descriptive texts for prehistoric archaeological traditions from around the world. All of these texts are indexed with subjects based on the Outline of Cultural Materials (OCM), a vast thesaurus of indexes and categories.

Some of the relevant subject categories on art when searching for prehistoric rock art, petroglyphs and carvings include “decorative art”, “representative art”, and “visual arts”.  For example, if you use “representative art” or “visual art” as search subjects in eHRAF Archaeology’s Advanced Search, you will find paragraphs and pages of texts referring to techniques in painting and sculpture (e.g., drawing or painting on flat surfaces, incising in relief, modeling or carving in the round); materials and implements used; subjects (e.g., still life, landscapes, human beings, abstractions); use of color; composition; appreciation of form and perspective; styles (e.g., naturalistic, idealistic, symbolic abstract); special products (e.g., etchings, bas-reliefs, masks); and artists and sculptors.

Interested in learning more about searching eHRAF, the OCM indexing system or what topics you can discover in the cross-cultural archaeology database? Check with your librarian to see if your institution subscribes to eHRAF or contact us at for more information or to request a temporary login.




Featured image: Rock art at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site in New Mexico. Credit: Christiane Cunnar